Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


kinds of polemical writing; and we must open our
minds to the possibility that in England at any rate they
are a stage in the history of historiography, playing *n
important part in a significant transition. I propose,
therefore, to look at those people whom I believe we
generally have in mind when we speak of the more
literary kind of historian—people like Macaulay, Carlyle
and Froude in England, or Motley and Parkman in the
United States. And the question we will ask is:
whether, by prepossessions and aptitudes which really
belong to the craft of letters these writers have affected
our appreciation of the past and contributed to the
development of historical study as such. We will
enquire whether the structural necessities ror the artistic
opportunities of literary form stimulated further devices
of historical understanding; and whether the literary
imagination—the form of it which exists in the poet, or
at least in the dramatist—was a factor in the development
that took place* •


If we take the wtord " history " as it is normally used at
the present day, we shall find that it covers—and some-
times it causes us to confuse—two different functions,
two different ways of treating the past. At one time we
tend to think of history as a work of " resurrection ",
and we attempt to resuscitate a bygone age, or recover
the personality of a man, or establish what actually
happened at a certain time; alternatively, we try to